Formations Summary

January–April 2019

Unit 1: Jesus’ Ministry to the World

Taylor Sandlin

As Christmas gives way to Epiphany, we will study Jesus’ entrance into public ministry. Through the Gospel of Mark, we will first examine Christ’s baptism. Next, we will hear Jesus preach that God’s kingdom has come near to earth. We will next consider that God welcomes sinners rejected by the world’s elites into God’s kingdom. Lastly, we’ll acknowledge that Jesus’ speech and actions led to conflict with others. Although Jesus entered into public ministry two millennia ago and encountered tremendous resistance, the story of his journey remains vital to our recognition of and participation in Christ’s ministry today.

Unit 2: The Law of the Lord

Hillary B. Kimsey

In this study, we will explore the Torah, the laws spoken to Moses in the first five books of the Bible. First, we will enter God’s presence in Exodus as Moses receives the Law on Mt. Sinai. Second, we’ll examine the Ten Commandments, recounted to a new generation in Deuteronomy. Next, we will encounter instructions about holiness in Leviticus. Finally, we’ll celebrate the gift of the Law through psalms of praise. The psalmist’s delight in God’s law teaches us to view God’s instructions in a new, positive, and affirming light.

Unit 3: Striving for Holiness

Darrell Gwaltney

In this five-lesson unit, we will journey toward holiness on our journey of Lent. Using one Scripture passage in Ephesians and four in Romans, we will seek to understand the ways Christ changes our lives through personal death and resurrection. What does freedom in Christ mean when sin is relentless? How do we become a part of a community of believers? What are our individual and communal missions? Holiness can feel elusive at times. But the path toward it leads us closer to God in ways that change both the world and us.

Unit 4: The Cross and the Resurrection

LaMon Brown

In this unit, we will look at important elements in the heart of our Christian life and work. Every year, these themes are repeated in some way in our church life. As we approach Good Friday and move into Easter season, we will consider what it means to be great in God’s kingdom. Next, we will question what sort of king God is through the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Third, we will consider what frightens or amazes us about the resurrection. Finally, we will examine what and whom God has called us to bear witness to.

May–August 2019

Unit 1: Paul’s Partners in Ministry

Lance Wallace

Paul, arguably the most significant contributor to the New Testament, is widely considered to be a hero of Christian faith. He went on four missionary journeys, establishing and mentoring many churches in the process. His letters to these churches still teach the church universal today. But this four-week unit isn’t about Paul; instead, each lesson focuses on a different partner in Paul’s ministry. Participants look to Barnabas, Silas, Priscilla and Aquila, and finally Timothy and Epaphroditus. In the process, learners are invited to consider how they might partner in the cooperative work of God.

Unit 2: Jesus and the Spirit

Rick Jordan

In recognition of Pentecost, this unit considers the role of the Spirit in the life of Jesus. To examine the relationship between the Second and Third Persons of the Trinity, four lessons direct participants’ attention to passages from each of the four Gospels. In Luke 4, Jesus alludes to the prophet Isaiah to signify the foundational role of God’s spirit in his ministry. In John 14, Jesus promises that the Spirit will be with the disciples after his ascension. In Mark 13, Jesus clarifies that the Spirit comes to help the disciples in times of hardship. Finally, Matthew 13 guides participants to consider how the Spirit leads them to resist evil.

Unit 3: The Book of Joshua

Leigh Powers

In five lessons, this unit traces the story of Israel’s entrance into the land of promise. Participants \ encounter a strong example of leadership in Joshua, Moses’ successor. Through descriptions of Israel’s fighting in Gibeon, Jericho, and Gilgal, lesson texts challenge Formations users to examine how stories of violence intersect stories of grace, encouragement, and obedience. Finally, the last two lessons from Joshua 23–24 recall Joshua’s final call for Israel to keep and renew its covenant with God. The book of Joshua, through its focus on Israel’s faithfulness, invites participants to imagine how they might live faithfully in their own lives.

Unit 4: Solving Problems Biblically

Sarah Reddish

The final unit explores four Old Testament texts that model ways for evaluating and responding to problems faithfully, wisely, and courageously. The first lesson examines Nehemiah’s problem in the aftermath of the exile and explores his prayerful response as an example worth following. Next, Proverbs 16 considers the importance of forethought and the challenge of patience when the unexpected happens. Then, Proverbs 2 raises children as examples that participants might follow in actively and curiously seeking to grow in wisdom. Finally, Ecclesiastes encourages readers to act, even amid uncertainty. Ultimately, this four-lesson unit invites learners to address hardships with wisdom and to move forward with purpose and joy.